The awards at the end of the baseball season are beating the snow on the ground in 2016. While things slow down on the blog here on a day-to-day basis more than before I had two kids; there’s nothing like the itch I get in November for more baseball. And it seems I think about and crave it more in November than any other month with the exception of maybe March.
Today, the big news in the show was the naming of the National League and American League Managers of the Year.
Terry Francona grabs the award in the AL for the Cleveland Indians. No surprise there – he is simply the finest manager in the big leagues today; there isn’t a close second. In a league where I feel that a good manager is often too easily complimented, Francona is one of the few great ones and has a chance to be a legendary one when it’s said and done. He got more out of less better than anyone in the game of baseball in 2016. The Tribe – on paper at least – were nothing to really be afraid of. But they played hard and took a loaded Cubs team to the wire.
Dave Roberts had a bit more to work with, but as a first-year manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers, he was left with a patchwork pitching staff for much of the season and a team that just seemed to out-will their competition on the way to winning the National League West and rolled all the way to the NLCS; stealing two games from the Cubs.
Roberts is just 44, seems to be a spectacular guy character-wise; and could someday see himself in a Francona-type conversation. His players seem to love playing for him and it’s because he’s a polar opposite of a guy like Don Mattingly, who seems to poke and prod and annoy the other big personalities in a clubhouse.